Is it safe to crack my own neck and back?

As I am writing this blog post, Tik Tok is all the rage and people demonstrating how to “crack” your own back is quite the phenomenon. Naturally, this has led to the question: “Is it safe to crack my back or neck”  of whether it is safe to self adjust or “crack” your own back. The short answer is you aren’t inherently putting yourself in any increased danger by doing so, however you also aren’t helping.

Don’t believe me? Ask anyone that you know that cracks their neck or back, how often they do it! I know they do it all the time, sometimes multiple times a day! In chiropractic the thing we are known most for is our ability to deliver the adjustment, but what you aren’t being told is that the key to chiropractic is not in BEING adjusted, but in NOT BEING adjusted. 

Stay with me here… At the time of writing this post there are multiple YouTube channels completely devoted to “Satisfying Back Crack” or “Loudest Neck Pop” that have driven millions of views. While I must admit these videos are addicting to watch they aren’t the important part of what chiropractors do. One of my professors once said “The adjustment isn’t the important part. You could teach a monkey to adjust, but the knowledge required to know what to adjust and when to adjust it, and most importantly when NOT to adjust. That is what you can’t teach a monkey.” 

Since I was halfway through chiropractic school and I wanted to become the best adjuster I could be, that didn’t sit well with me. I could adjust much better than any monkey could ever dream of, but my professor was right.  The far less glamorous truth is that prior testing and critical thinking skills are required to decide which of the thirty-three vertebral segments throughout the spine along the three axes of movement is causing the ailments that brought the patient into our office. 

So why then do I feel this necessity to crack my neck throughout the day and why does it feel so good? 

Your body isn’t ignorant to what is happening with in it and it is innately telling your brain that there is a vertebra that isn’t moving properly. We call this a subluxation. Thus, we get this urge to self adjust. Unfortunately, when we have a vertebra that isn’t moving properly the ones above and below are forced to pick up the slack and will move too much otherwise known as being hyper-mobile. These hyper-mobile vertebrae are often what you feel and hear when you crack your own back, and it feels so good because much like when you get professionally adjusted, there is a neurochemical release of neurotransmitters that tell you brain “that was amazing”. 

You see, your spine was created to move and the brain loves when it does so, the important thing is ensuring that it is moving CORRECTLY that matters so much. This is where the critical thinking skills come in. As the chiropractor we must find that ONE vertebra that is causing the issue and figure out why and in which direction the bone isn’t moving. Therefore, self adjusting isn’t necessarily bad but it isn’t likely going to fix your problem, and let’s be real the fact that you feel the need to “self-adjust” means you certainly have a problem. The only question is how long are you willing to wait to do something about the underlying problem. 

At Excelsior Family Chiropractic, we take your spinal health seriously. The first time in our office, practice members have spinal thermography, surface EMG, and full spine radiographs taken prior to being adjusted. We have a saying in our office “To see is to know, and not to see is to guess. We will NEVER guess with your health.” Without proper testing we would be guessing which vertebrae is causing the neurological irritation, and body stress. With proper testing and time to analyze the results Dr. Ryan and I can isolate the vertebrae that set the cascading events into motion and correct it at the cause. The end result is lasting results and TRUE CORRECTION. After all no one goes to their dentist hoping to have a root canal. Why should going to the chiropractor be any different?

Come in to EFC and we’ll keep you well adjusted, in a safe environment!

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